Category Archives: Ponder

the things that are challenging or inspiring or making me think these days

“The Days are long…

“The Days are long…

“…but the years are short.” So goes the saying. It turns out that the older I get, the more it’s true, as though the world is making smaller and smaller revolutions around the sun. I’m certainly not the first to put voice to this phenomenon of aging, nor will I be the last. I tell you that because the passing of time and the bold act of aging is high on my “thinking-about-it” list right now.

I started this blog in another lifetime, when we were just starting down the road of severe illness with mom. And now she’s been gone for two years already.

At first I didn’t write because I wasn’t quite brave enough to put words out there. When she was first gone I felt so fragile, so ill-equipped for the task of life. How do you live without a mother? I know lots of people have had to do it and somehow still excelled in life. In fact, lots of people have had to do it at a much more tender stage of life than me. But I was surprised at how afraid I felt in those first days and weeks. My sisters were around a lot at first and I remember thinking, “How will I do this without them?”

But somehow I did. I got up the next morning and I took steps and breathed in and breathed out and then I did it again. And again, and again, until a year had paMomssed. On the day that marked one-year without our mom, a bunch of us went to her grave and left flowers and Glenn and I went home and planted three new rose bushes for her. And then we just kept breathing in and breathing out.

And now it’s been a whole year more. Which feels impossible. We have once again made it through the gauntlet of early spring…her birthday, mom and dad’s anniversary, the day she went to see Jesus. They all fall within a 30-day span. But we did it. We went to a concert on their anniversary and had cake on her birthday and wished she was here for all of it.

But this is largely the reason I didn’t write. At first I couldn’t. And then I didn’t. And then I wasn’t sure how to bridge what had become a long gap.

Lately though, I’ve been thinking about some things. I’ve been mulling them over and realized that I kind of wanted to write about it. But first I had to write “the first blog after my mother died.” And so I didn’t.

Today I read these words, “Don’t wait until you feel confident. It takes a while to find your voice and feel competent and confident at exercising your God-given gifts. But you have to use your voice in order to find it and exercise your gifts in order to edify others.” (Janette Ok, in an interview on The Junia Project) If it’s true that the years are short and if it’s true that you have to use your voice in order to find it, then maybe today is the day to be brave.

So here it is: the first blog after my mother died.

And we keep breathing in and breathing out.



What I mean when I say “Living Generously”

What I mean when I say “Living Generously”

If you’ve read my blog you know that this is kind of a life goal of mine: to live generously. And while I often fall-short of that goal, even fail completely, I am always trying to understand better how that can play out in my life. (Thank goodness for new days and new weeks and new months and new chapters too!)

I’ve been thinking lately about how generosity takes the form of a compliment. I’ve been thinking about it because, lucky me, I’ve been on the receiving end of some pleasant emails. There’s one gentleman in particular that I look forward to corresponding with because he is always so warm and positive. I don’t mean that he is gushing or disingenuous in any way. On the contrary his seems simply to see the best in the situation and to take the time to speak it into the lives of those around him. I come away from conversations with him standing a little taller, seeing the world as a little brighter. He is winsome.

So I have been looking for ways to add that into my own life. After all, there are so many things that I think I should do that are hard or actually hurt. This is not one. It costs me nothing, pains me not at all, takes nothing away from the task at hand. So when a customer turns in a file with a really great design, when a student responds with a particularly insightful comment, when the clerk at the grocery store manages to smile and welcome yet another customer, my new goal is to acknowledge that, to offer an authentic compliment that builds someone else up and acknowledges their contributions, to live generously.